Kelsi Hooper (she/her) is a Seattle based tattooer and illustrator. She loves practicing art that features natural elements; particularly plant and animal life, and the human form. Her designs are inspired by scientific illustration, magic, and the weird and whimsical. She strives to provide a safe and relaxed space during the tattoo process. Kelsi began tattooing in 2017 and specializes in black ink and fine lines.
I view my tattooing practice as a personal artistic expression that provides a creative service for others. I find inspiration through the entire process, enjoying a glimpse of my clients true selves through their interests and passions. It’s a way to merge someone's vision with my own, whether it is purely aesthetic or has a deeper meaning. Tattooing keeps me creatively engaged, continuously learning and further expanding my style.
MY METHODOLOGY & STYLE
Designing a tattoo feels like a magical collaboration between myself and the client. It’s vulnerable and rewarding for both parties, and ideas come together through mutual understanding. My illustrative aesthetic has a heavy focus on the intricacies of nature and plant life, and I enjoy using etching details and linework to create art that is precise without feeling strict. There is a sense of humor and nostalgia that comes through in some of my more lighthearted pieces. Although I specialize in detailed blackwork and illustrative style tattoos, I enjoy experimentation with a selective use of color.Book an Appointment
WHEN I KNEW THIS IS WHAT I WANTED TO DO
After receiving my first tattoo when I was 18, I was fascinated by the process of designing and applying a tattoo. I was always meant to be an artist, but it took me a long time to tackle the vulnerability of sharing my work. In 2013 I began going to Burning Man and became deeply inspired as I was surrounded by artists and beautiful people in many shapes and forms. The guidance and support of my friends and family gave me the confidence to accept the intimidating title of “artist”, and the experience gave me a platform to push the boundaries of my comfort. It motivated me to focus on my vision and move towards my dream of creating lasting art and experiences.
HOW I DISCOVERED IT
I spent my entire childhood drawing, using encyclopedias and magazines as reference photos and using my imagination for the rest. My family had a fascinating and eclectic collection of statues, Maxfield Parrish paintings, vintage soda signs, and antique furniture. These surroundings influenced my style and aesthetic from a young age. My obsession transitioned from drawing on paper to my arms and legs and experimenting with dramatic makeup, to my parents dismay. Designing and collecting tattoos was something I dreamed about, while my main focus was illustrating small commission projects for family and friends. I was mainly self-taught until I began my apprenticeship in 2017 and my mentor trained me in the basics of designing for the purpose of tattooing. Over the next two years what I thought I knew about drawing shifted into an art form that translated to human skin. My style developed further during my apprenticeship, and translating someone’s vision into an image is a never-ending learning process which I cherish deeply.
THE MOST REWARDING PART OF WHAT I DO
When I started getting tattooed, I realized I was developing a different, more confident relationship with my skin. I felt excited where I was self-conscious previously. Tattooing is an expression of body positivity, and it can be a major step to transformative healing. Being able to help other people achieve their transformation is a huge part of why I love what I do. Whether it’s bringing a vision to life, honoring a memory or a passion, commemorating a friendship or a beloved pet, the meaning and interpretation of a tattoo is fluid. I prefer using images rather than text to reinforce belief systems, to act as spiritual reminders or rituals. <br><br>Some tattoos are more lighthearted though, in the spirit of being silly or fun. l love creating a tattoo that can make you smile or doesn’t have an obvious meaning. Laughing and having fun as a way to connect with my clients is immensely rewarding.
HOW CAN SOMEONE BENEFIT FROM MY OFFERINGS
Aside from being a playful way to adorn your skin, tattoos can be a powerful celebration. To develop a better relationship with your body, to reclaim ownership of your identity, and to transform and empower. An image can tell a lasting story, and the ritual of creating and receiving a tattoo is a unique and memorable experience.
I love making designs that flow with the natural contours of the body, but it is thrilling when someone surprises me by choosing bold or unusual placement or details. I strive to honor my clients vision, while using my experience to make a unique and personal design that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Whatever their reason for being tattooed, I aim to provide my clients with a comfortable and safe experience during the practice. To be able to trust one another and enjoy the journey.
WHAT INSPIRES ME
I love listening to music and going for adventures. I really enjoy the woods and the water of the Pacific Northwest, and growing up near Puget sound turned me into a beachcomber. I like to photograph flowers and plants along the way to use as references when drawing tattoos.
In addition to plant and animal life, I take inspiration from human anatomy and biology as a way to experience art, particularly through browsing medical textbook illustrations. I’m drawn to imagery that is shocking or makes me laugh. I love elements of sci-fi, magic and the occult as well as art that references history, mythology, and music.